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Archive for the ‘The Sporting Life’ Category

National Football League–Okay Guys No More Leading With Your Helmets, Mmmkay?

Posted by KingShamus on March 25, 2013

The ‘crown of the helmet’ in red; James Harrison refers to this as the ‘Concussion Helper-Outer’.

No, really, stop.

NFL owners passed the most controversial rule proposal at the annual league meetings in resounding fashion on Wednesday, outlawing crown-of-the-helmet hits outside of the tackle box.

The rule change applies to offensive and defensive players, but running backs will unquestionably be the most affected by the change. The Bengals were the only dissenting vote among owners.

…The biggest concerns from coaches and players are the ability to teach running backs to no longer lower their head in the open field and the difficulty in officiating the play.

“It’ll certainly make our runners aware of what we expect relative to use of the helmet,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “One of the questions I ask a lot is who gains from this? Offense or defense? It’s a tossup as to which side of the ball has the advantage on this rule, if any. The main thing is it’s pro health and safety. That’s the big thing.”

Are concussions a big problem in football?

Over four thousand former NFL players suing the league in a massive class action lawsuit seem to think they are.

Now pro football is trying to do something to keep players from becoming vegetables.  One can argue that the mandate against crown of the helmet hits comes far too late for the athletes who were never afforded this kind of protection.  On the other hand, at least the league is trying to do something to keep players safe, right?

Eh, not really.

The people who’ll be enforcing this new penalty are the referees of course.  Yes, these very same fallible close-enough-for-government-work referees.  So on top of every other judgement call the zebras have to make in the course of a nanosecond–Was that a catch? Was that an illegal hold?  Was that ball going out of bounds because of a forward pass or a lateral in the final moments of the game while the defenders were being held in the endzone?–they’ll now have to discern in the blink of an eye whether or not a ball carrier lowered the top of his helmet and used it as a weapon against another player.  That sounds totally easy.

In reality, this new diktat is going to be incredibly difficult to enforce.  What we have here is not safety.  It’s more like safety rule theater.  Much like the Transportation Safety Administration’s airport security theater, the NFL’s attempt to stamp out crown-of-helmet hits has all the trappings of a rule designed to keep players safe, but nothing that actually makes that goal happen.

Players are already revolting against this farce.  The coaches won’t say anything about it publicly, but they’re most likely not thrilled.  The only person who seems genuinely stoked about banning this type of play is Roger Goodell.

The problem with this rule is that it attacks the problem of player concussions from the wrong direction.  You can penalize crown of the helmet hits until Ben Roethlisberger finally learns that no means no.  It still won’t change the biggest issue, which is the helmets themselves.  NFL headgear hasn’t changed much in thirty years.  They’re still basically the same amalgamation of hard plastic shell and interior foam padding that they were in the Reagan Administration.  In other words, they can still be wielded like a cudgel.

But instead of changing the helmets, the NFL decided to create a whole new unenforceable rule in a league that is already over-legislated.

Makes perfect sense.

Posted in The Sporting Life | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Music Monday Super Bowl After Party — “We Are The Champions” (Live) by Queen

Posted by KingShamus on February 4, 2013

Congratulations to the world champion Baltimore Ravens.

 

 

 

And so ends the 2012-2013 National Football League season.

If you’re a Ravens fan, this couldn’t be a more epic victory.  Ray Lewis got to ride off into retirement as a two time Super Bowl winner.  Ed Reed snagged an interception to tie him for most post-season picks by a defensive player.  Joe Flacco capped his insane playoff run with a well-deserved MVP trophy.  John Harbaugh beat his brother to take home the Lombardi trophy.  The team had to fight off both a momentum-killing 34 minute power outage and a second half comeback attempt by the San Francisco 49ers, yet still managed to score a victory.

For a Super Bowl that didn’t seem like it had the big time vibe of past games, the contest itself had many tense moments.  There were stand-out defensive plays, ridiculous athleticism from both offenses and an amazing kickoff return for a touchdown.  Even though the Ravens never trailed, the 49ers taking advantage of the power outage to slowly reel Baltimore back within striking distance was dramatic.

This is a reminder of something we take for granted.  It really doesn’t matter who’s playing in the Super Bowl.  You could have the Kansas City Chiefs playing the Carolina Panthers.  As long as the teams are roughly equal in skill, the games are going to be pretty fun to watch.

Speaking of that power outage, here’s something schadenfreude-y.

Show of hands if you had ‘Green Energy Fail’ on your Super Bowl Bingo card.

Think about this:  The Super Bowl is a multi-billion dollar game.  Fortunes are spent on 30 seconds of ad time.  Businesses fight and claw each other just to be kinda-sorta attached to this event.  Cities lobby to host the game because they know it’s an economic boon.  There’s some serious crony capitalistic shizzle going on with the American professional sport’s premier night.

And yet, even with all that money and prestige on the line, the efficiency experts couldn’t figure out how to get power to a football stadium.

If you think that’s great,  just think how rad it’s going to be when the Obamatons mandate smart meters for your house.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, Music Monday, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Super Bowl 2013–Ravens Versus 49ers

Posted by KingShamus on February 3, 2013

This year’s NFL championship contest is, on paper at least, not all that exciting.  Neither team has been to the Super Bowl in a while.  While both teams have seen some success in recent years, both clubs lack the national followings of franchises like the New England Patriots or the Dallas Cowboys.

Beyond a cursory glance, Super Bowl XXXXLIQ Eleventy Gajillion has it’s share of story lines.  The head coaches for each squad are brothers.  Both teams came painfully close to getting to the Super Bowl last year only to see their seasons’ abruptly end just short of reaching the big game.  All-Universe Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is playing in his final NFL contest.  San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is starting in his eleventh NFL match.  Seen that way, it turns out there’s a lot to latch onto for casual fans and die-hard football watchers alike.

Besides the human interest aspects, the two teams play decidedly different styles.  Specifically, their offensive philosophies have little in common with each other.  Joe Flacco, the underrated Baltimore quarterback, is a concrete birdbath when he  drops back into the pocket.  He’s not particularly mobile,  but he’s got a Howitzer where his right arm should be.  Flacco can accurately deliver bombs at any time to anywhere on the field.  More importantly, he comes into this game playing the best football of his life.

Flacco is the field general for an offense that relies on talented wide receivers like Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin as well as stand-out running back Ray Rice to make big plays both in the air and on the ground.  While the Ravens attack has guys like Dennis Pitta, a tight end that causes match-up problems for defenders, it is still a more or less traditional NFL system.  Watchers of the game will recognize most of the Ravens’ offensive formations and plays.

On the other side of the field, Colin Kaepernick is for all intents and purposes a rookie playing in the biggest sporting event on the planet.  Although he’s inexperienced, he’s got serious weapons like running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis and wideout Michael Crabtree.  Kaepernick leads a dynamic offense that employs the read-option and the pistol formation.  The pistol makes it very hard for defenses to understand what the offense is about to do.  Because it can be used for running plays or passing  attempts, the defense cannot simply assume a run or pass is coming at them.

The pistol is even more devastating when paired with read-option plays.  The read-option means that on running plays the quarterback can read the defense to determine his next move.  He can elect to hand the ball off to his running back or keep it himself and take it upfield.  Here again, the key is confusing the defense to keep them from pinning back their ears and attacking whoever has the ball.

As great as these systems are for the offense, all the  misdirection borne from them comes at a price.  By using the read-option and the pistol, teams put their quarterback in a position to take punishing hits.  As the quarterback is by far the most important player on the field, this is the ultimate high risk/high reward strategy.

There is no guarantee that Colin Kaepernick will be able to play the same way next year.  Hell, there’s no guarantee that Kaepernick will be capable of performing at a top level next week.  Mobile quarterbacks are not known for their durability.  Just ask Michael Vick or Robert Griffin III how easy it is to stay healthy when regularly being flattened by psychotic 300 pound physical freaks.

Besides the risk of massive career-ending injuries to the team’s key offensive player, the read-option and pistol are not unknowable puzzles.  Defensive coordinators across the league are already studying it.  Eventually, they’ll solve the riddle as they always do with every new offensive scheme that comes out.  It’s one thing to only have seven or eight days to prepare for the pistol/read-option’s trickery.  It’s quite another to have seven or eight months to study formations and plays.

Realistically, San Francisco better win the Super Bowl today.  This season, the 49ers benefited from having an insanely-gifted athlete playing at the top of his game leading a previously-unknown offensive scheme that few teams have been able to stop.  Next year, it’s very possible that none of those advantages will be applicable to the team.

To me, this year’s Super Bowl hinges on this question:  Can the Baltimore Ravens defense, lead by aging veterans like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, contain Kaepernick and all the gadgets that San Francisco employs?  I have my doubts.  The Ravens pass rush has been spotty during the playoffs.  I’m not sure they can go after Kaepernick with just their down lineman and get to him.  If they can’t at least put him on ground a few times, it’s going to be a very long day for Baltimore.

Ultimately, this means that Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense will have to match Frisco’s offensive output.  That might be very difficult.  While the Niner’s defense has been shaky in recent games, it’s less flawed than Baltimore’s.  I think San Francisco can get to Flacco.  Perhaps not on a regular basis, but enough to knock him off his rhythm.

That leads me to think that San Francisco will win this game.  I see it ending in something like 30-24 or 28-20 in the 49ers’ favor.  Since I’m so good at predictions, this means you should bet on the Ravens.

From an emotional level, I don’t care for either team.  It’s amazing how Ray Lewis is a beloved figure in the NFL even though he mentions his love of Jesus every five seconds, but Tim Tebow’s much less demonstrative proclamations of Christian faith have made him a divisive figure in sports media and in the larger culture.  Also, I don’t know how the pious spiritual leader act fits with Lewis’ deep involvement in an unsolved double murder.

On the other hand, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh is an unrepentant asshole even by NFL head coaching standards.  When he won against  Detroit, he started a fight with Lions coach Jim Schwartz because he’ had to be a trash talking shit-heel.  When he lost to the Giants last year in the NFC championship game, he refused to do a post-game interview and take his licks like a man.  When things are going his way, Jim Harbaugh is a classless sore winner.  When his team is defeated, he’s a classless sore loser.  Basically, Harbaugh is a younger less likable Bill Belichick with fewer accusations of cheating and no championship rings.

If I had to pick a team, I guess I’d root for the Ravens if only because it would be fun to watch Harbaugh, football’s latest overgrown playground doucherocket, take yet another brutal loss.  Is that petty?  Yes.  But it’s the National Football League we’re talking about here.  If we didn’t have silly small-minded peeves to nurse, we wouldn’t have a league in the first place.

You know what else is great about football?  Cheerleaders.  Lots and lots of cheerleaders.  Let’s take a look at a few, shall we?

The Ladies Of The Baltimore Ravens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The San Francisco 49ers’ cheering squad

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy.

Posted in The Posts of Morale, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

KingShamus’ Best of 2012

Posted by KingShamus on December 31, 2012

Hey, here’s some of my old crap! If there’s any consolation, I picked two or three posts from each month.  That should limit the suckage.  I know, this is sorta lame, but if I Instapundit can do it, so can I.

January

Mitt Romney Sucks And I Miss Reagan

Music Monday Zep – ‘We’re Gonna Groove” by the mighty Led Zeppelin

February

Beer Review – Assorted Samuel Adams Winter Suds

Mike Bloomberg’s Very Busy Week

Presidential Election Doomwatch–Placing The Blame For Mitt Romney’s Ascendency

March

Support Conservative Political Mommy Bloggers!

Ameritopia and the Fable of The Frogs

Barack, Trayvon and The 2012 Election

April

President Barack ‘Dog Meat’ Obama Is An Admitted Dog Meat Eater Who Has Eaten Dog Meat

Rick Santorum’s Exit

May

Wait, Faster Than Light Travel Isn’t Hip in Science Fiction Anymore?

Music Review – ‘Harmonicraft’ by Torche

DeWayne Wickham: Get Back On The Democrat Plantation, Gay Republicans!

June

Municipal Debt Bombs: The Other Source Of Fiscal Collapse

Because Fashion Is A Passion For The With-It And Hip

Grade School Bully Gets Bullied By His Teacher Who Is In Fact A Bully

July

The Shootings At Aurora-A Real Villain and Real Heroes

Hey Everybody! ‘The Obama Effect’ Is Coming Out Today!

General Electric and Barack Obama: The Magical Relationship Continues

August

Why Clint Eastwood’s Republican Convention Speech Worked

Nathan Lane: Prince Barry’s Court Jester

Hey @MSNBC! Here Are All The Speeches You Didn’t Cover From Last Night’s #RNC.

September

NFL Replacement Refs Making The Game’s Faults All Too Obvious

The US Doesn’t Have To Fix The Middle East

Who Could’ve Foreseen The Highly Unlikely Scenario Of Terrorism At The US Consulate In Benghazi?

October

#MyFirstTime–Best Political Ad…EVAH?

DVD Review–Prometheus

November

(Really, can’t we skip this month?  It was sorta yucky.)

Mayor Mike Bloomberg: “The NYC Marathon is on; let the boroughs eat running shoes” (Update!)

Post-Presidential Election 2012: Splitting Headache Edition

Personal Values, Political Choices

Lawrence O’Donnell Was For Secession Before It Was Cool!

December

Living And Breathing Left-Wing Politics

Guns Crime Facts, Gun Crime Feelings

Okay folks, there you have it.

BDKS 2012 is done.  On to the new year.  Thank God.

Also, thanks for stopping by Blog De KingShamus.  The readers and commenters are who make this place cool.  For that I am humbled and grateful.   Happy New Year and may your 2013 be full of happiness, success and a fully-stocked MRE bin.

Posted in Celebutards!, Critiques, Domestic Happenings, Foreign doings, Media Silliness, Politicians behaving badly, The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

If You Were Missing National Hockey League Action

Posted by KingShamus on November 26, 2012

Shop-Rite has a solution for all your NHL lock-out needs.

Here’s the problem the NHL has right now.

I’m a hockey fan.  I’ve been rooting for the Rangers since I was in middle school.  And I am slowly but surely getting used to not watching the NHL anymore.

I’ll be frank; I’ve got plenty of options besides ice hockey to fill my time.  The Giants are a first place team.  The Knicks are having a resurgent year.  The Yankees might sign Josh Hamilton.  My teams are bringing drama and excitement every day of the week.

Mind you, those are just the sports entertainments I’ve used to replace my hockey enthusiasm.  If we wanna get further afield than just professional athletics, there are many other things to watch, listen to, read, and play.  “The Walking Dead” is finally turning into the gripping drama critics thought it could be three years ago.  “Tale of The Tigers” is a great read from a terrific conservative blogger.  Black Ops II just might get me back to giving third eyes to hapless noobs; *CQBDevilGod999* could pwn again.

Like I said, I’m a long-time supporter of American hockey and I’m moving on in relatively painless fashion.  Think about the more casual fans out there.  The guys who don’t go see a ton of games live.  The people who don’t buy merchandise every five seconds.  Those soft hockey fans probably barely noticed that the NHL isn’t running games.  Worse, they might not come back once the league decides to end the lock-out.

I don’t know all the details of the work stoppage.  I don’t know everything that the players and owners are fighting over.  My gut tells me that the owners probably more at fault than the players, but I could be wrong.

But ultimately, all that is a moot point.  This is about the NHL bleeding fans who may never return once the lock-out is done.  Whatever short and medium term financial issues at stake have to pale in comparison to the long-term sustainability of the National Hockey League.  I mean, can the league continue to exist when the owners and players seem determined to alienate the people who support them?

Posted in The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

NFL Replacement Refs Making The Game’s Faults All Too Obvious

Posted by KingShamus on September 26, 2012

Oooopsies.

Golden Tate shoved a Green Bay defender out of the way, wrestled another for the ball and was awarded a disputed touchdown on the final play. But it was another 10 minutes before the game actually ended, when the Seattle Seahawks and the stunned Packers were called back on the field for the extra point.

Replacement ref rage may have peaked Monday night.

Just when it seemed that NFL coaches, players and fans couldn’t get any angrier, along came a fiasco that trumped any of the complaints from the weekend. The Seahawks’ 14-12 victory featured one of the most bizarre finishes in recent memory, and was certain to reignite frustrations over the locked-out officials.

”Don’t ask me a question about the officials,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. ”I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years in football.”

”I know it’s been a wild weekend in the NFL and I guess we’re part of it now,” he said.

The commissioner, Roger Goodell, insists that the right call was made at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game.  In other news:  the NFL is officially pissing down the legs of NFL fans, but they assure us that it’s actually raining.

The NFL is in some real danger here.  The games are becoming a lame joke.  Before Monday’s game, the players and coaches had little respect for the second-hand zebras.  After this latest train wreck, that thin patina of behavioral restraint is probably gone.  Next week’s games could easily degenerate into a bush league hockey match.

So the replacement refs are a big issue.  Even though these men will probably get better in the coming weeks–they probably couldn’t get worse, could they?– they’ll probably never be as good as the real zebras.  But as bad as the new officials have been, their troublesome tenure brings into sharp relief some of the core problems within the pro football game.

Remember when you could look back on a week of football and see one or two really egregiously blown calls?  Yes, maybe your team was victimized by a out-of-nowhere penalty or a dopey non-flag.  It might’ve cost the club a win, but over the course of the season most fans know that the horrible calls will be balanced out by generous rulings.  The law of averages and probabilities generally comes out to a rough equilibrium that the vast majority of NFL enthusiasts can live with.

Now, under the new officials, the fan cannot be sure his team isn’t going to get screwed week after week.  Through inexperience, ignorance of the rules, the intimidation factor from players and coaches and just being overwhelmed by the speed of the game, the replacement refs cannot seem to call a consistent contest from week to week.  Or quarter to quarter for that matter.  The new guys make everybody involved in the sport pine for the regular officials.

As much as getting the old referees back will improve the flow and consistency of the National Football League, there are problems with the game that even the best on-field judges cannot not solve.  In the midst of Monday’s Seahawks-Packers contest, former NFL official Jerry Austin was a part of ESPN’s broadcast team.  Austin, an expert in the rules who had reffed two Super Bowls, said that the play was not reviewable because simultaneous catches could not be reviewed by instant replay.  The next day the NFL contradicted him by saying that, through a rules change that had happened over the off-season, all facets of a touchdown play could be reviewed.

When one of the most respected veteran officials in the game is unsure of the rules, that’s probably a sign that the sport is insanely over-legislated.  Not only are there too many rules in the NFL, they change every year and they are open to an absurd level of interpretation by the people officiating the game.  This leads to fan confusion and annoyance; how can you enjoy a football contest if you don’t understand the guidelines under which it is played?

It shouldn’t take a law degree to understand how a child’s game is conducted.  We’re reaching a point where the sport is being choked to death by its obsession with legalistic minutiae.  Even the best regular official on his best day cannot handle the insane number of factors they have to consider when making a call on the field.  This points to a massive structural problem that the NFL has not acknowledged.

Think I’m joking about the league killing itself with too many rules?  Consider the NFL’s international ambitions.  American pro football desperately wants to expand beyond the US market.  It’s spent billions of dollars promoting games in Europe, Canada and Mexico.  Yet non-Americans stubbornly cling to their soccer and largely reject our most successful professional sport. The NFL is baffled as to why their game won’t take hold in foreign markets.

Compare football’s rules to international soccer’s diktats.  While both are lengthy, the NFL’s guidelines are far longer.  More importantly, the NFL’s guidelines are far more open to broad and ambiguous interpretation: You can’t hit the quarterback except when you can, you can’t hit the wide receiver except when you can, this player is eligible to catch a forward pass except when he can’t, that player is ineligible to receive a forward pass except when he can, etc.

For people who have not grown up with the pro football game, it’s much harder for them to understand the various and sundry by-laws of the NFL.  If it’s a chore to learn all the wrinkles of the game, most people are just going to stick with what they know.  In the case of most non-Americans, that’s soccer.  As a result, the American gridiron sport not only has to overcome foreign people’s love of soccer and their understandable reticence to change, but the over-ruled nature of US football itself.

The fact of the matter is that watching soccer is just about the most boring television program ever.  Scoring is minimal and not enough happens.  The Julliard level of acting required to draw penalties is unseemly and stupid.  But soccer has an enormous advantage: simplicity.  It’s easy for people to understand.  Anyone, from an illiterate shepherd in Zimbabwe to the President of the United States, can quickly grasp the basic concepts of the sport.  Within a few viewings, much of the nuances can be gleaned as well.

By contrast, American football is violent, exciting and great to watch on TV.  The problem is that the sport is becoming increasingly unknowable.  If people cannot understand the game, people will turn it off.  I used to think it was cool that the television networks include former officials to help fans interpret the on-field action.  Now I see it as part of the problem.  You shouldn’t need the voice of God to understand an offside call.  You shouldn’t require ten minutes of instant replay with second by second commentary from a retired zebra to determine who has possession of the ball.  In short, the referees shouldn’t be this visible and this integral to the functioning of the sport.

So by all means, let’s bring the real officials back.  Under the current situation, each game is a potential humiliation for the entire league.  Getting the regular refs on the field will stop the bleeding and bring a much-needed level of professionalism back to the sport.  If nothing else, the normal officials will get the games moving faster, which will be a big help.

Having said that, there are flaws in the National Football League that cannot be solved by the real refs.  The game is being crushed under the weight of its own rulebook.  If it is to continue to grow both here and across the world, it will have to simplify or it will die.

Posted in The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Ladies Downhill Skateboarding Awesomeness

Posted by KingShamus on May 3, 2012

I know I post a lot of cheesecake pics.  What can I say?  I’m an insensitive jerk with a stunted capacity to experience genuine emotional connections with others.

So it falls to the great Theo Spark to find videos of hot ladies not just sitting around looking pretty but doing insanely cool athletic-type shizznit as well.

That’s some pretty amazing stuff.  What makes it really amazing is how they’re basically taking it easy.  They weren’t exactly racing.  For them, that was just a nice relaxing practice run.  For most of the rest of the world, what they did would be a white-knuckle teeth-clenched fear fest followed by a 25 mph face plant.

By the way, don’t try this shit at home.  Or away from home. It’s dangerous and road-rash takes a long time to heal.  Unless you like pulling chunks of asphalt out of your asscheek.

Posted in The Posts of Morale, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Tim Tebow Traded To…The New York Jets? (With Three Updates!)

Posted by KingShamus on March 21, 2012

Will wonders never cease?

The Broncos traded quarterback Tim Tebow on Wednesday to the New York Jets for a fourth-round draft choice, FOXSports.com has learned.

It was later revealed that the Broncos received a fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round pick for Tebow, the Denver Post reported.

The deal – which was facilitated by Denver’s signing of Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96 million contract – spells the end to one of the wildest chapters in the franchise’s 52-year history.

Well, that moved pretty fast didn’t it?  Manning makes his announcement yesterday.  Today, Tebow is gone. 

Quick question:  What did the Jets just get themselves into here?

The team just signed their starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to a three year contract extension.  That would seem to suggest that the Jets were committing themselves to Sanchez for at least the short and middle term.    In that context, the move to get Tebow makes little sense. 

The New York Jets now have millions of dollars wrapped up in one position.  That would be great if football was played with more than one ball.  Unfortunately, it’s not.  How much salary cap space do the Jets have to fill other needs?  How much can Sanchez and Tebow co-exist without having other parts of the team becoming degraded? 

People will argue that, with Tony Sparano installed as the new offensive coordinator, getting Tim Tebow is a good move.  When he was the head coach of the Dolphins his Wildcat play-calling added an unpredictable wrinkle to the Miami attack.  On paper Tebow’s skills would seem to mesh with the Sparano’s ideas about how to run an NFL offense.  With Tebow called in for wildcat plays, one could make the argument that the Jets just made a great decision.

The problem here is that its 2012, not 2008.  Defenses have largely found ways of limiting the damage Wildcat plays can cause in the course of a game.  Sparano’s unorthodox tactics seemed to have hit a wall in recent years.  Now, one could make the case that Sparano didn’t have the personnel in Miami to make the Wildcat work, but it’s an argument with a lot of holes in it.

Here’s another fun fact:  Perpetually disgruntled asshat and part-time NFL wide receiver Santonio Holmes spent most of the 2011 season angry that he wasn’t getting the ball enough.  He threw Mark Sanchez under the bus several times during the course of the year.  How stoked is Holmes going to be when the Jets turn into a QB-option/ run early/run often/run always offense?  Potentially, Santonio Holmes could go from a major annoyance to a full-blown locker room cancer over the course of the upcoming season.

The thing is, I like Tim Tebow.  I’ve said a few times that Tebow’s greatest weakness is his inability to read NFL defenses.  I believe that if he devotes himself to correcting that one sub par aspect of his game, that he could be a successful NFL quarterback.  He has all the physical tools to do this.  His mental toughness suggests that he also has the work ethic to make himself into a top-flight field general.

The issue I have is that this move is completely illogical except in one way.  By making this trade, the New York Jets have put themselves on the back page of every New York City tabloid.  Not only that, they’ve made a huge media splash across the country.  From the perspective of a team looking for attention, this deal got everybody thinking about the Jets.  Congratulations Gang Green, you’ve completely annihilated the off-season news cycle war.

However, the point of the NFL is to win Super Bowls.  Kicking ass in the spring is merely a facet in the overall framework of collecting championship hardware.  Ask the Washington Redskins how their various March player pick-ups have contributed to their utter dominance of the league during the last decade.

The Jets didn’t get a pass-rushing defensive end.  They didn’t snag a monster offensive tackle.  No, they decided to get another quarterback.  For a team with a QB that has led them to the AFC Championship game two out the last three years.

UPDATE NUMERO UNO:  The Jets jumped the gun?

After word spread rapidly Wednesday that the New York Jets had acquired quarterback Tim Tebow from Denver for draft picks, the teams have encountered a hang-up in the language in Tebow’s contract that could nullify the trade, a Broncos source tells ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

In Tebow’s contract is a $6.2 million salary advance, of which $1.2 million already has been paid by Denver, sources told Schefter. The difference of $5 million is still advanced against his future salary, and that burden would shift to the Jets in a trade. The Jets, sources said, believe the Broncos should owe Tebow that money.

The trade, then, will not be finalized until the sides resolve their differences over which should pay the money coming to Tebow.

The teams agreed to the terms of the trade — the Jets dealt fourth-round and sixth-round selections in 2012 in exchange for Tebow and a 2012 seventh-rounder from Denver — before the Broncos asked New York to pay back a portion of bonuses and salary already paid to Tebow…

What the hell?

This is just silly.

If the Jets have any sense, they’ll take this snag as a very convenient way of backing the hell out of this deal.  “Whoopsies, we’re horrible readers!  We can’t figure out contract clauses!  Looks like the trade is void!  Awwww shucks!”

Lets see if Gang Green can get lucky and have this swap fall though on them.

UPDATE NUMERO DOS:  It gets stranger still.

“Tim Tebow has $5 million worth of recapture language,” Schefter tweeted, “meaning Jets would have to pay back money to Denver. Jets might be unwilling.”

Multiple sources have indicated that the Jets front office agreed to the deal and then raised objections after thoroughly reading the contract. An ESPN source says the Broncos continue to negotiate with the Jets, but are also negotiating with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

…Similar language ended trade talks between Denver and the Jaguars, Schefter noted, but as stated those talks appeared to be back on. Schefter later wrote that a league source believes the trade would eventually go through with the Jets. If both teams fell through, the St. Louis Rams could have been involved.

Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeebus.

This has turned into a Grade-A clusterfuck. 

All because Mike Tannenbaum didn’t bother to read Tebow’s contract? 

Unbelievable.

UPDATE NUMERO TRES:  Nope.  It’s done.  Tebow is a Jet.

For the second time in eight hours, the Jets finalized a trade for Tim Tebow. This time, it’s official, sources told ESPN Insider Adam Schefter.

The trade compensation is the same as the original compensation: The Jets send fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Broncos, who send a seventh-rounder back to the Jets.

According to Schefter, the Jets agreed to pay $2.5 million of the $5 million in advance salary that is owed to Tebow — the root of the contract-related snafu that held up the trade. So not only did they give up two draft picks, but they had to pay extra to acquire him.

Whatever.  The most pointless trade in football history is finally finalized. 

Hey, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson:  You bought the ticket, enjoy the ride.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Super Bowl 2012

Posted by KingShamus on February 5, 2012

Well, for a football season that almost didn’t happen, this year has been a helluva ride.  The lockout might’ve put a scare into players, owners and fans, but once it was over the NFL put the rocky offseason behind it in short fashion.  The 2011 Super Bowl winners, the Green Bay Packers, had a dominating 15-1 record only to lose in the second round of the playoffs.  Teams like the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders, who both have long histories of losing, were finally competitive and have potential to be strong in the future.

After a great season, it makes sense that this year’s Super Bowl is full of drama.  The 2011-2012 edition of the New England Patriots features a high-powered offense led by All-Universe quarterback Tom Brady. Most teams have one fair to good tight ends.  The Pats are blessed with two spectacular TE’s; Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez both had insanely productive seasons.  Wes Welker is one of the more dangerous wide receivers in the NFL.  As usual head coach Bill Belichick has his hydra-headed running back attack of Danny Woodhead, Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley, which allows him to plug in three guys into the position and keep all of them rested.

What New England doesn’t have is a lock-down defense.  With the exception of  Vince Wilfork, there aren’t a lot of bona-fide stars on the Patriots’ defensive team.  This is somewhat surprising, as Belichick made his NFL reputation as a defensive mastermind.

The New York Giants are in the Super Bowl, but at times during the year it was doubtful whether they’d make it to the playoffs.  From mid-November to mid-December, the G-men lost five out of six games.  During that swoon, head coach Tom Coughlin was allegedly headed for the unemployment line.  Whispers of a rebuilding effort in the offseason were heard.  Player grumblings and dissention was a factor.  Instead of slouching towards a January tee time, the Giants rattled off five straight victories and turned what could’ve easily been an epic failure into a potential Super Bowl victory.

Emphasis on ‘potential’.  In the Patriots, New York faces unique challenges.  The Giants pass rush is a dangerous weapon that has proven that it can get to any quarterback in the league.  However, stopping the run is not their strong suit.  Even their pass defense has some holes.  If the Giants aren’t putting pressure on the passer, their secondary can be overwhelmed and end up burned for big plays.

It looks like the Super Bowl will come down to the match-up between the Patriots offense versus the Giants defense.  If the Giants are hitting and sacking Tom Brady, the Patriots are in for a long game.  If Brady and Bellichik can mix in the run and pass and keep the Giants on their heels, the Patriots have the talent and weapons that could turn this game into a New England route.

I could also see special teams factoring in here.  The Giants are not known for their great special teams play.  Lawrence Tynes can hit a clutch field goal, but he doesn’t have the strongest leg on kick-offs.  Even if New England doesn’t run back a kick-off for a touchdown, they could get serious yardage on kick-offs which would set up their offense on short fields.  On the other hand, Bill Bellichik has been known to take risks if he thinks he can catch the other team off-guard.  Fake punts, onside kicks; the whole gamut of trick plays could be possible in this match-up.

My long-running support of the New York Football Giants is hampering my normally completely fool-proof football prognostication skills [sarc/].  My heart wants the Gints to snag their second Super Bowl in four years.  My head tells me that the Giants defense is superior to the Patriots defense, which should be enough to secure a New York victory.  My pessimistic streak–located somewhere in my bunions–says that since everyone on the planet seems to be picking the Giants, New England could sneak out a victory.

I really don’t know about the game.  I’m too much of a fan to really look at this objectively and make a pick.  I do know that I like cheerleaders, though.  Lots and lots of cheerleaders.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, homies.  And the girls too.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, The Posts of Morale, The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

I Think I’ve Figured Out Why Soccer Sucks

Posted by KingShamus on July 1, 2010

Having been forced to watch some World Cup games with some deluded friends, I’ve come to a conclusion bought from hours of boredom and annoyance.  The game of soccer blows because the game is fundamentally flawed.  Not a small imperfection, not a troubling aspect, but an overarching problem with the basic logic of the sport.

At the highest levels of competition-the Euro leagues, the World Cup-it’s damn near impossible to score points so soccer players are forced to use phoney-baloney injuries.  They do this in order to gain the advantage a favorable call by the officials gives to their teams. The game’s constrictive rules force players to become Laurence Oliviers of the pitch, wailing and gnashing teeth in order to fake out a referee.

Look at real football. Even the best defenses give up points. No defensive unit shuts out their opponent every single game, not even the exceptionally dominant 1985 Bears or the maniacally stingy 2000 Ravens. Offensive players go into each contest with a sense that the game’s rules give them a solid shot at scoring, even against truly magnificent defenses. Thus there is no need to engage in Broadway thespianship

The structure of the game gives offenses a decent chance at scoring at least some points during the course of the contest.  From the rules of the sport and how they are enforced to the size of the playing field and the shape of the ball; all these things contribute to the ‘scoreability’ of football.  So a host of factors such as a focused pregame preparation, a strong game plan, an inspired play by the offense, a defensive mistake or just a lucky bounce could all result in a score.

What’s more-let’s say the Raiders and the Redskins are playing and both offensive units are having a crappy day.  Even if that’s the case, the defenses can still put points on the board by creating turnovers and taking them to the house.  How can defensive teams accomplish this?  For basically the same reasons that the offensive units of a club can expect to score during a game.  The defense can also tackle an opposition player in the endzone, which results in a two-point score called a safety.  What about special teams?  While a little more rare, teams can run kickoffs and punts back for scores.  Special teams points can also come off blocked punts, blocked field goals, onside kicks or safeties.

In short, there so many possible ways to score points in football that scoreless ties…the cousin-kissing curse of Soccer…are almost unheard of.

Do players in football try to job the officials? Of course they do. Players will take a flop now and again. But it is a startlingly rare sight for a football player to fake an injury in order to get the ref to blow the whistle for the player’s side. It’s even more rare to see a player fake an injury, then get up and walk back into the game like nothing happened.

The other thing to realize is that the play-acting that goes on in real football only wins a player a small game-time advantage in comparison to soccer.  Let’s look at a best case scenario.  Imagine the Jets and the Dolphins are playing.  A Dolphins wide receiver takes a dive on a pass and the referee calls a pass interference penalty on the Jet defender, giving the offense a first down and the ball on the 1 yard line.  First of all, there is no guarantee that the Miami offense will score a touchdown or a field goal in this scenario.  Goal line stands are rare, but not impossible.  A blocked field goal is entirely possible too.

But let’s say the Dolphins punch in a touchdown in that scenario.  Because football’s rules don’t choke the possibility of scoring into near non-existence, there is nothing that says the Jets can’t march right down the field and score a touchdown of their own.  Hell, the very next play will see the Dolphins kick off to the Jets, which means the Jets could take the kickoff all the way back for a score.

Compare the football situation described above to the rough equivalent in soccer.  Germany is playing Portugal.  A German striker gets brushed by a Portuguese defender and of course fakes a massive injury to gain a penalty kick right on the doorstep of the goal.  Now, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that the German player will score a goal here.  But the chances of him scoring a goal on a penalty kick is far greater than in almost any other play available to him in soccer.  Not a corner kick, a set play, nada.  Furthermore, there is a far greater chance that the striker will score in this situation than in football’s equivalent scenario.

The possibilities for scoring that exist in football simply are not available in soccer.  Goals are so hard to come by and thus so precious that teams have to find ‘extracurricular’ ways of gaining an advantage over their opponents.  It simply isn’t enough to have great conditioning, awesome ball handling skills, top-notch passing and deadly accurate kicking aim.  Superior game planning?  Spectacular set plays? Savvy coaching?  None of these things gain teams a demonstrable advantage.  Go back to the imaginary Portugal versus Germany game.  The Portuguese could have better players, better coaching, better skills, better everything over the Germans.  There’s still far too much of a possibility that Germany will be able to fight off Portugal’s advantages and scratch out a scoreless tie.

This is not to say that soccer cannot be rehabilitated.  It could be a very exciting sport if given a makeover.  But several things would have to occur.  The act of diving would have to be stopped.  Heavy penalties would have to be put into place to stop players from faking injuries.  At the same time, the fundamental reason for the diving-the difficulty of scoring-would have to be addressed.  One possibility is to simply make the goals bigger.  Expand the goals by a foot on each side and set the crossbar two feet higher.  That would make it much easier for offenses to get the ball into the net.  Other fixes could be proposed as well.

But something should be done to address the game’s major weakness.  Or not.  Because really, it is only soccer.  It’s not like a real sport…like curling.

;-P

By the way, in case you haven’t had enough soccer talk, here’s a rad soccer fake injury video.  Enjoy, gentle readers!

Posted in The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

World Cup Soccer?

Posted by KingShamus on June 14, 2010

Ace nails why we’re seeing such a big push for soccer.

…I detect a lot of culture-warrior rejectivism going on among progressives, here, actively championing soccer not just because they simply like soccer better, but because they actively and affirmatively reject the culture they grew up with and seek, as they often do, an alternative that is both foreign and therefore “better,” and which also, quite consciously, places them in position outside the American cultural mainstream.

And from that position, they are better able to do what they always wind up doing anyway — mocking American traditional culture and positing that every other culture, no matter how stupid, primitive, or barbaric, needs be necessarily better than American culture simply because it’s not American.

As progressives say, you shouldn’t dismiss or demean a person or culture just because they represent “The Other.”

You know what you also shouldn’t do? Pick your enthusiasms of the week simply because they represent “The Other,” either.

And that’s what raises conservatives’ hackles, here. It’s not that soccer is innately a “bad sport” — look, it’s not; it’s a great sport… for other people.

It’s instead this hectoring and baiting by the transnationalist progressive left that our own sports, our own culture, must be deficient and retrograde simply because we enjoy them, and that we must become more enlightened by shedding our own traditional preferences and replacing them with the preferences of “the world.”

Because, as usual, we suck, and they’re awesome, and we know nothing, and we can learn everything from foreigners.

Read that linkage, because it’s full of win.  Unlike soccer, which is full of scoreless ties.

A few things I’d add to Ace’s case.

If you like diving…:It seems like every time you watch a soccer match (whether in the various leagues or during international play) there’s at least a couple instances when one of the players falls down and writhes in pain like he’s passing a kidney stone through his tibia while receiving an unsedated colonoscopy.  Oddly enough, a few minutes later, that same player will be prancing up and down the pitch like nothing happened.

The strategic crying jag is as much a part of soccer as the header and the free kick and it is done in an attempt to draw a call from the officials.  This type of Shatner-caliber theatricality simply isn’t a part of most games that Americans are fans of.  Don’t get me wrong here-all major American team sports have instances where players will attempt to get a favorable ruling out of the referee through some form of chicanery.  In football, a wide receiver will stumble after incidental contact with a defensive back in order to get an interference call.  During a basketball game, it’s not weird for guys to drop to the floor like a sack of potatoes after a minimal bump from the opposing player, just begging the refs to issue a charging call.

The problem here is that even though players in American sports try to draw calls from the referees using the tried and true ‘flop’ technique, it’s rare to see them feign injuries like soccer players do on a regular basis.  Put it another way:  When you see a football player writhing in agony, it’s almost always because he’s just vaporized his ACL and not because he’s trying to get a sympathy call from an official.  To a noobie soccer watcher from the US, the fake boo-boo shit in soccer seems so candy-ass in comparison to the very real injuries suffered in the other sports.

The Relentless Ads Full of Sound & Fury Signifying Exactly Squat:  A few weeks back I remember seeing an ESPN commercial advertising for their World Cup coverage.    Djimon Hounsou was starring in and doing the voice over.  You would’ve thought he was doing a promo for the Rapture.  It was all -DRAMATIC. CLIPPED. SPEAKING- quick cutaways and terse moody graphics.

Okay, I like Djimon Hounsou as much as the next guy, but what are we the fuck are we talking about here?  A game where 2-1 is an offensive explosion.  A contest where lightning fast running, skillful dribbling, expert footwork, brilliant tactics and pinpoint aim all come together to create a 0-0 tie more often than in any other sport.  Sorry fans,  but that doesn’t even come close to delivering on the promise of an Intense Epic Contest to End All Sporting Contests I was told was going to happen.

I watched about 20 minutes of Cameroon versus Japan today.  Nothing happened.  Nothing.  A corner kick managed to get the crowd and the announcers excited for a little bit, but then nothing happened.  Again.  All the while, what sounded like a thousand hippos farting into a wind tunnel was blasting out of the TV speakers, drowning out most of the play-by-play.  Turned out it was just some ridiculous plastic horn called a vuvuzela.

Jeeeeeeebus tittie-fucking Keeeeeeeeeeristmas.

So the media thinks I’m supposed to watch a game where nothing happens while being deafened by an atonal flatulent dipshit drone, that’s going to end in a scoreless tie, all the time waiting for a grown man to fall onto the turf crying over a fake injury?

No.  Fuck no.

MORE: Is soccer a fun game to play? Sho ’nuff. When I was in high school, we’d play soccer in gym all the time and it was totally cool. One of the reasons it was so fun was because most of the time recess soccer was full of kids that were no good at the game, so there was a pretty good chance you could score a goal at a more brisk pace than geologic time.

The thing is, most sports are far more interesting to play than to watch. I suck at baseball, but I think it’s still pretty cool to face a pitcher and take my cuts every once in a while. Watching the Super Bowl is rad. Playing a pick-up game in the back yard is even better. Golf on television is a good way to kill some time and take a nap. Grabbing some clubs and hacking it up out on the links is considered by many to be the height of Western Civilization’s manly recreational pursuits. Soccer is no exception to the basic truth about watching vs. playing.

Is soccer a neat sport to see live? Hell yeah it is. I saw Italy vs. Norway back in 1994 and it was a blast. I had done some pre-game drinking before the match, I didn’t give a shit who won and I got to laugh at the the dopey Norwegian dude in the face paint and banana hammock who would randomly bark out ‘Norge!’ at random intervals apropos of nothing going on in the game.

So yeah, soccer can be neat under the right circumstances. The problem is, we’re not talking about playing the game or watching it at the stadium. Unless you’re actually in South Africa right now and you have tickets to the games, we’re talking about Americans sitting down and watching World Cup soccer on their televisions. That is something most Americans do not have any interest in doing.

Still More: Robert Stacy McCain has even more great soccer commentary.

In Rio or Rome, the soccer fan is a Regular José or a Regular Giuseppe. It is a low-brow, blue-collar sport, beloved by rowdy hooligans the way ghetto kids in America love the NBA or hillibillies in east Tennessee love NASCAR.

Out there, in the rest of the world crammed full of foreigners, amongst limeys and wogs, krauts and dagos and chinks — and especially beaners – futbol es muy macho.

By contrast, if an American is that kind of Regular Joe, he doesn’t watch soccer. He watches the NFL or bass fishing tournaments or Ultimate Fighting. In an American context, avid soccer fandom is almost exclusively located among two groups of people (a) foreigners — God bless ‘em — and (b) pretentious yuppie snobs.

Which is to say, conservatives don’t hate soccer because we hate brown people. We hate soccer because we hate liberals.

Bingo.

Example: You know who is an especially loathesome human being? The American college kid who goes away to Europe, spends two weeks there and comes back wearing an official Real Madrid soccer jersey like he’s been a lifelong fan of the club and the sport. He’ll talk in flowery prose about the beauty of the game and how superior it is to American games and blah blah fucking blah without actually understanding the nuances of the sport.

It’s bad enough when you see a person suddenly jumping onto a US sport’s team bandwagon. It’s even worse when that same front-runner mentality comes with a healthy dollop of snobbery.

A dude at my job has been wearing a Portuguese soccer scarf for the last few days in celebration of the World Cup. You wanna know why I don’t punch this guy in the dick for being a pretentious pud whacker? Because he’s actually Portugese, he grew up watching soccer back in his country, he understands how the game is played. For him, the World Cup isn’t a chance for him to burnish his multi-culti Kool Kid credentials. It’s just a special event that he enjoys watching.

I can happily accept that guy being into the World Cup. It’s not my thing, but it’s still a free country. If you like watching soccer, it doesn’t hurt me at all.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, Foreign doings, The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

NFL Draft: Let’s talk about the important things

Posted by KingShamus on April 22, 2010

The NFL draft is testing the waters and holding their draft during prime time tonight.  I think it’ll probably be a success.   The big league baseball season is still in it’s infancy.  There are a few basketball and hockey playoff games on this evening and I guess they’re meaningful if your team is still in the running for a title.  Being that I don’t have a dog in either the race for Lord Stanley’s Cup or the NBA Championship, I couldn’t give a withered shit what happens on the ice or the court.  More importantly, America’s number one sport remains NFL football.  Interest abounds in fans’ minds for everything football-related, even something as pigskin geek-centric as the draft.

Besides all that, there are some dynamite storylines in this year’s draft.  The number one point of interest I think has to be Ben Roethlisberger’s fall from grace.  It’s exceedingly rare to find a quarterback that has won two Super Bowls and yet is so very disliked by his teammates and by the team’s management.  According to Jay Glazer on Mike Francesa’s radio show today (sorry, no audio), Steeler’s owner Art Rooney is enraged by Big Ben’s asinine behavior.  Glazer went on to say that Rofflburger is not liked by his teammates for a host of reasons beyond his retarded off-field conduct and that if Rooney acted out of emotion, he’d trade his behaviorally-challenged shit head quarterback .  While it’s unlikely Pittsburgh actually pulls the trigger on that trade, it’s still enough of a possibility to put a little gas on the fire tonight.  If the Stilllerrrrz are gonna get rid of Rofflburger, it’ll happen tonight and it will be a massive deal.

Even if nothing happens with Pittsburgh tonight, there are enough cool things going on tonight to keep football nerds moist.  For one thing, where does Tim Tebow get drafted?  The dude is a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, college football champ and a young man of exemplary character.  He is also a complete enigma because nobody has a clue if his unique set of skills will work within the confines of the pro game.  It’s gonna be very interesting to see what team rolls the dice and drafts Tebow.

As for me, I am wondering about my New York Giants.  A few years ago, they won an improbable Super Bowl.  After last season’s disastrous finish, the G-Men have numerous holes to fill.  Instead of putting bowel-stewing fear in opposing quarterbacks, the Giants last year did a great job of playing laissez-faire defense, allowing boatloads of yards and points.  On the other side of the ball, the running game that once seemed unstoppable was a shadow of it’s former glory.  Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw fought off numerous injuries and could never find a winning groove.  Too often it felt like the rushing attack was trudging in quicksand.

Either a middle linebacker or a new running back would help out a whole lot.  The problem is that the Giants are drafting at #15, which means both stud players (middle linebacker Rolando McClain and running back  C.J. Spiller) at those positions will likely be taken.  Unless they make a trade to move their draft position up a few notches, they might end up having to take the old tried-and-true best player available.  While the guy probably won’t be a bad pick in and of itself, it might not address their very immediate and very pressing needs.

Posted in The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Let’s flip the script for a bit

Posted by KingShamus on March 17, 2010

You gotta check out Cedar River Salmon’s Iditarod coverage.

I don’t know anything about dog racing, but this shit seems uber-dangerous. Not ‘I might look foolish’ dangerous.  Not even ‘I might tear up my ACL’ dangerous.  More like ‘I might get killed’ sort of dangerous.

That’s some bad-ass shit right there.

Clickie da linkie, ya’all.

Posted in The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Super Bowl XLIV: The competition is FIERCE

Posted by KingShamus on February 7, 2010

Well, there’s one way to settle this.

The ladies of the Indianapolis Colts:

Next, let us take a gander at ladies of the New Orleans Saints

So….ummmmm.

Oh, you were wondering about the actual game?

Well…

Both the Colts and the Saints have underrated defenses.  After the Baltimore/Indianapolis divisional playoff game three weeks ago, Ravens running back Ray Rice said it was the fastest defense he’d ever played against.  New Orleans gives up a lot of yards and a lot points, but they create turnovers and they have a habit of running back fumbles and interceptions for touchdowns.  I could envision a scenario where both defensive units take a turnover for a score.  Even with Dwight Freeney being banged up, I give the Colts defense a slight edge just because of their phenomenal quickness.

On the offensive side of the ball, Peyton Manning is nothing short of brilliant.  The way the man reads opposing defenses is surgical.  Yes, Manning has had very iffy playoff games, so he’s not God.  However, I think he wants to solidify his legacy with another Super Bowl victory.  He’s not a spring chicken in football terms, so this might be his last run at an NFL championship.  Manning will more than likely have a great game.

The Colts running attack is a scattershot affair.  Joseph Addai is an inconsistent back who benefits from working in a system with high-powered weapons.  But what Indianapolis lacks in rushing, they make up with their passing game.  Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon are all capable of shredding coverages.

The Saints offense was looking like the stuff of legend early in the year.  Now they’re just really great.  Drew Brees is a very talented quarterback capable of matching Peyton Manning’s production.  He is surrounded by top-notch talent.  Marques Colston is an elite wide receiver.  Jeremy Shockey has an ego the size of the Sun and is physically fragile, but he can still make opposing defenses pay dearly for forgetting about him.  Pierre Thomas is frankly underused in the ground game and he sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.  On many teams, he’d be a 20-touch-per-game, 1500 total yard-a-season running back.

The x factor in this game is Reggie Bush.  You are never sure what you’ll get from him.  One game he’ll have five receptions for 40-odd yards.  The next he’ll go for two scores and 150 yards.  He’s an amazing athlete, but he’s so inconsistent.  I cannot figure out what he’s gonna do in the Super Bowl.  He could be very effective on screens against a hyper-aggressive Indy defense, or he could be rendered a complete non-factor.

If I was to rate both offenses, I’d give Indianapolis a slight edge, only because they seem to be playing more efficiently as of late.  The presence of Reggie Bush gives New Orleans both a source of concern and a source of hope.  When it comes to special teams, both clubs are essentially equal.  My feeling here is that the team that makes a mistake…a missed field goal, a lousy punt…is going to pay dearly for their error.  I could see this game coming down to a big special-teams play.

I suck at predictions, so I’m sure I’ll be wrong.  But hey, it’s my blog so I’ll go out on a limb and say that Indianapolis will win 38-27.

As for the cheerleaders, both squads are winners.  That means we’re all winners.

Update: See, I told I was going to be wrong.

Posted in Domestic Happenings, The Posts of Morale, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

In honor of the NFL playoffs

Posted by KingShamus on January 17, 2010

Football team names…in Latin.  Ooooooh brainy.

Last week I asked my Latin students to come up with Latin names for the NFL teams. Here’s what we came up with. I’m sure that we’ve overlooked something.

  • Green Bay Arctatores
  • Chicago Ursi
  • New York Gigantes
  • Pittsburgh Ferrarii (Ferrarii sounds much more blue blood than “steel-worker” doesn’t it?)
  • Washington Rubracutes (Saying it in Latin makes it sound more politically correct)
  • Indianapolis Equulei
  • San Francisco Undequinquagintatori (This is my personal favorite NFL Latin name – literally “one from 50ers”)
  • Dallas Bovipueri (My favorite team! – also a great Latin name)
  • Cleveland Bruni (Even in Latin, it’s still the most boring name in football history)
  • Detroit Leones
  • Oakland Raptores
  • New England Patriotici
  • Philadelphia Aquilae
  • St. Louis Arietes
  • Kansas City Principes
  • Miami Delphini
  • Arizona Cardinales
  • Denver Sonipedes
  • Tennessee Titani
  • Buffalo Gulieli (plural abbreviation of the Latin name “William”)
  • Minnesota Vikentes (yeah, we just punted on this one…)
  • New York Aeroplana (this term turns out to be neuter plural of airplane in “contemporary Latin”)
  • Baltimore Corvi
  • Tampa Bay Archipiratae (it rhymes!)
  • San Diego Fulgurifactores (I’m not satisfied with this as “Chargers,” but I wanted to keep the “electric” meaning)
  • Houston Texani (we punted on this one, too)
  • Cincinnati Bengalenses (I’m quite proud of this one)
  • Jacksonville Pantherae (yes, the scientific name for a jaguar is “panthera onca”)
  • Carolina Pantherae (unfortunately redundant)
  • New Orleans Sancti
  • Seattle Pandiones
  • Atlanta Falcones

If you wish to reproduce this list, please give credit and a link. I’m especially grateful to my students Dominic Sipe, Jacob Pearson, Max Biko, Daniel “Harundo” Reed, and Joseph Davis for their creative help in generating this list. 

I found this at Stix1972′s twitter feed.  You can also pop over and say hi to the man himself here.

Update:  All I know is that Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikentes are beating the snot out of the Dallas Bovipueri.  Gratias Deus.

Posted in The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

If soccer was like this all the time, maybe people would watch it

Posted by KingShamus on November 8, 2009

Elizabeth Lambert, you beautiful unsportsmanlike bitch.

Posted in The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Plaxico Burress: Toast

Posted by KingShamus on September 22, 2009

Predictable.

Facing the prospect of spending at least 3 1/2 years behind bars, one-time Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress on Thursday accepted a plea bargain with a two-year prison sentence for accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub.

The former New York Giants wide receiver pleaded guilty to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a lesser charge than he had faced. He will be sentenced Sept. 22, and lawyer Benjamin Brafman said he expects Burress to begin serving his sentence immediately after.

Burress’ guilty plea ends months of haggling between Brafman and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The case went to a grand jury after negotiations broke down, apparently because District Attorney Robert Morgenthau was insisting that Burress serve at least two years in prison.

Meanwhile, KissingSuzyKolber has the most interesting commentary:

Posted in The Social Scene, The Sporting Life | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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